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Police clash with Catalan separatists in Barcelona

Police clash with Catalan separatists in Barcelona

Police have clashed with Catalan separatists who gathered in central Barcelona to protest over another march by Spanish police demanding better pay.

Separatists threw paint at police, covering anti-riot shields, police vans and the pavement of a city centre square in a panoply of bright colours.

The protesters also threw projectiles at police. Officers responded with baton strikes to keep them back.

Earlier, local Catalan police intervened to form a barrier when a separatist threw purple paint on a man who was part of the march of around 100 people in support of Spanish police.

Officers used batons to push back the oncoming separatists and keep apart the opposing groups.

Catalan police officers cordon off the street to stop pro independence demonstrators, on their way to meet demonstrations by members and supporters of National Police and Guardia Civil in Barcelona on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Catalan police officers cordon off the street to stop pro independence demonstrators, on their way to meet demonstrations by members and supporters of National Police and Guardia Civil in Barcelona on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

The separatists filled the central square, many having spent the night there, to force the regional government to alter the route of the march by the Spanish police supporters.

Tensions are running high in Spain’s north-eastern Catalonia before Monday’s anniversary of an illegal referendum on independence held by regional politicians.

The referendum was marred when Spanish national police and Civil Guard officers clashed with voters, injuring hundreds.

Two weeks ago, police had to intervene to keep apart two separate rallies by Catalan separatists and Spanish unionists in Barcelona, the region’s capital.

Catalonia’s separatist-led government is asking Spain’s central authorities to authorise a binding vote on secession.

Polls and recent elections show that the region’s 7.5 million residents are roughly equally divided by the secession question.

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